Once a ritzy playground
A fashionable resort since the 19thC, Deauville emerged as a ritzy playground, complete with racetrack, casinos, a medley of king-size half-timbered seaside ‘cottages’ and ostentatious hotels lining the flower-packed boulevard Eugène-Cornuché. Both Deauville and neighbouring Trouville boast broad sand beaches edged by boardwalks, marinas, casinos and a range of activities such as riding and tennis. Deauville’s July-August high season is renowned for racing (steeplechasing and flat), regattas and conspicuous consumption. In September, the town hosts a suprisingIy accessible American Film Festival.
On the east bank of the River Toques, Trouville (www.trouvillesurmer.org) still operates as a fishing port and town distinct from its resort status, conferred in the 1860s when it was ‘discovered’ by Napoleon III and his merry men.
The smaller resorts along the so-called Côte Fleurie, such as Cabourg and Villers-sur-Mer to the west, are pleasant but not exactly bargains. There is a pretty drive. east to Honfleur (click here) on the D513 through rolling, leafy countryside past dozens of small farms offering cider and calvados tastings and sales.
Villa holidays: Deauville, its surroundings plus the north coast and Normandy offer many holiday rental properties.